How to Clean RV Holding Tank Sensors in 4 Easy Methods?

how to clean rv holding tank sensors

If you’re reading this right now, it means that you are having problems with incorrect holding tank sensors. It can be annoying for rig owners to have a misreading sensor.

But, let me tell you that it’s pretty standard, and all you need to do is clean your RV holding tank sensors. There are several ways to clean it, and I’ll walk you through all of them one by one.

By the end of this article, you will know how to clean RV holding tank sensors to ensure that there won’t be any false readings anymore.

4 Simplest Ways to Clean Holding Tank Sensors

What You’ll Need


Below, we describe methods for cleaning either only black water tanks or both black and grey water tanks. Here are the things you need:

  • For black water tanks: A tank cleaning wand, a water hose, & a clean water source
  • For black and grey water tanks: An enzymatic cleaner/ a dishwashing detergent/ or a power wash.

The Best Ways of Cleaning

There are many ways to get a misreading holding tank sensor to work accurately again without having to replace it altogether. Some RVers use different materials utilized explicitly as an RV tank sensor cleaner, while others have a power clean of their RV tanks.

Check down below to see the best methods for cleaning your RV holding tank sensors.

1. With the Use of a Tank Cleaning Wand


There’s a wide range of materials that can be used to clean your RV tanks, like a tank cleaning wand. This product is specially made for RV black water tank sensor cleaning. It sprays out high-pressure water to clean all sides of your tanks circularly.

Using it is very simple. Before everything else, make sure that you are wearing gloves for this process.

First, dump all the contents of your tank and hook up your tank cleaning wand to a clean and fresh water source with a water hose. Next, bring your wand to your RV’s bathroom and flush the toilet. As you press on the lever, slowly insert the wand into your tank.

For better cleaning, start from the lower part and slowly go up until you’ve cleaned your whole tank. Then, refill and dump it a few times to make sure that the tank’s spotless.

2. With the Use of an Enzymatic Tank Cleaner


Another product that you can use to clean your holding tanks is an enzymatic tank cleaner. This type of cleaner can help break down even the most significant waste to prevent it from blocking your holding tank’s sensor. It also helps reduce waste to small pieces so that when you dump your tanks, there won’t be any clogs.

To use an enzymatic tank cleaner, you just need to drop it in your tank after a dump. Leave it there, and it will work on its own. You just need to assess how big your tank is and how much you need for better efficiency. It also works as a deodorant to remove any odor, which is a big plus!

3. By Soaking Your Holding Tanks With Dishwasher Detergent


If you want something that you can use for both your grey and black water-holding tanks, then a dishwasher detergent is an effective way to clean your tanks. However, before you start, ensure that you are using a dishwasher detergent made for automatic dishwashers. This is because it won’t be foamy but has softening agents that can easily break down any material such as oil and grease.

The process is simple and easy. Just start by adding a cup of dishwasher detergent to both your black and grey holding tanks before any trip. The holding tank sensors will dictate how much water you should add, and we suggest that you fill not more than half of the tanks.

Finally, empty your tanks after driving to your destination.

4. By Power Cleaning Your RV Holding Tanks


Lastly, when all the other methods don’t clean your holding tank sensors, you can opt to have your tank’s power washed. This is when a specialist comes over to your RV and pumps pressure water to the dump valves in your rig.

For this to work, you must be in a park for rigs with access to a sewer for when your tanks are dumped.

Many things can be the cause of why your sensors keep misreading despite trying all the other options above.

One of them is the presence of struvite in your tanks. It’s a mineral crystal that is formed in wastewater & made up of ammonia, magnesium, and phosphate. It firmly holds onto your tank material and is very hard to remove. That’s why the only solution is to physically remove it with high-pressure water.

Pressure cleaning your RV tanks works perfectly to remove even the most stubborn materials that cover up your holding tank’s sensors. In addition, the high-pressure water that will be blasted into your tanks can ensure that all the walls are thoroughly clean and there won’t be any residue left.

Why Do Holding Tank Sensors Misread


Before knowing how to clean your holding tank sensors, it’s essential to understand why misreads happen with them. There are tons of things that could go wrong and cause your holding tank sensors to misread, and they vary depending on the holding tank.

Your RV has three holding tanks: the fresh water tank, the grey water tank, and the black water tank.

It’s safe to say that you won’t have any misreading problems with your freshwater tank’s sensors. This tank is filled with water that you use most of the time for showering and drinking. Since it’s filled with clear water, nothing will coat the sensor for it to misread.

For your RV grey water tank, it’s possible to have a misreading sensor since it can be covered with grease. This tank is filled with all wastewater from your shower or your sink.

Grease and oil are considered to be the main suspect for a malfunctioning grey holding tank sensor. Most of your standard daily materials can contribute to this, such as shampoo and soap.

Lastly, if you wonder why misreading black holding tank sensors happen frequently, it is simply due to the clogged materials in your black tank. Your RV black water tank holds all wastewater that comes from your toilet.

That’s why it can easily cover your sensors and cause them to malfunction. The main suspects for black water tank sensor problems are poop and toilet paper flushed down from your toilet. Therefore, it would be best if you had a routine for cleaning black tank sensors.

How to Prevent a Misreading Holding Tank Sensor

Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know in cleaning your RV holding tank sensor, it’s now time to find out the ways in which you can prevent blockage from happening again. Here are some of the best preventive measures that every rig owner should take note of.

1. For Black Tanks


  • Ensure that your black tank valve stays closed at all times, except when dumping.
  • Maintain an RV temperature of under 85 degrees. If it goes beyond, flush your toilet with more water or add more treatment to your black tanks.
  • After dumping the contents, always use enzyme treatment for your black tank.
  • Don’t let antibacterial products or caustic chemicals enter your black tank.
  • Do not use bleach when cleaning your RV toilet.

2. For Grey Tanks


  • When dry camping, make sure that your grey valve stays closed at all times. Also, make sure to do a deep cleaning every after camping.
  • When you wash your dishes, make sure to use an enzyme-based soap to minimize grease.
  • You can leave your grey tank valve open as long as it’s connected to a P trap line when parking on full hookups. This way, you can rest assured that the grease drains out immediately rather than staying in your grey tank.
  • If you can, back-flush your RV grey tank regularly.
  • Don’t let food waste enter your grey tanks.


Knowing how to clean RV holding tank sensors will help ensure that they function well with minimum false readings. This will help rig owners know when they should empty their holding tanks and keep them clean and functional.

You can simply track your usage and have a routine where you can drain all the contents of your holding tanks so that your sensors will work efficiently.

Were you able to find out how to clean RV tank sensors? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends.

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